It's What Men Do

Discussion in 'Epic Rides' started by epicxcrider, Jul 25, 2012.

  1. epicxcrider

    epicxcrider Been here awhile

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    To the South

    Eventually we dropped down into the little town of Dee, just South of Hood River. Dee is home to a giant apple orchard with an incredible views of Mt. Hood to the South and Mt. Adams (I think) to the North.

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    To the North

    We moseyed North from Dee to Hood River, the temperature rising with every foot of elevation lost. Mid afternoon at this point, we stopped to wander around and find a bit of real food. I was getting tired of granola bars and redbull so a decent sandwich from a cafe really hit the spot.

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    We saddled up, crossed the metal grate toll bridge into Washington and headed up onto the ridge on the North side of the river to be treated to an excellent view of the Hood River valley and about 100 kite surfers in the river below.

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    A few miles later we came to a small intersection - it was decision time.
    Take the road into the mountains knowing it was getting late, or head for the main highway.

    #81
  2. epicxcrider

    epicxcrider Been here awhile

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    Gas.... Check
    Food.... Check
    Water.... Check
    Daylight... We'll worry about that later

    I turned up towards the mountains..

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    For a short while we pounded pavement on narrow forest service roads that curved gently deeper into the woods. Passing the occasional car headed out of the forest - probably after a day of hiking - we rode further as the road transitioned into well maintained gravel. Turning East we hit our first trail. Trees were down, but had been cleared in the past day or two - a storm must have just come through.

    The trail was great for the big Beemers, tacky narrow double track with just the right amount of grip to inspire confidence. Finding a happy speed in 4th kept the rpms around 4k - enough to give either a good boost of power or engine braking when needed - I led the way now speeding North. The occasional set of potholes caught us by surprise, and a few water bars were big enough that i stopped to warn Bernie and Shawn. Otherwise, the road was clear and before long we began to twist higher and higher - letting Shawn take the lead on the superior dirt bike.

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    Shawn and Bernie sped by and I waited for the dust to settle. We had nothing to complain about, this trail was beautiful.

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    As we did the climb dance that brought us ever closer to the three sisters, something Shawn had said to me really began to click. It was something along the lines of "in the dirt, lean the bike, and keep your weight centered" and I finally began to get it. Leaning the bike underneath me while staying upright instilled enough confidence to pick up my pace considerably through the corners. I was able to ride more relaxed, having the time to correct a slide and let the bike straighten up if necessary without risking a low side or a complete flop over.

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    We carried on, catching our last glimpse of Mt. Hood in the distance.

    A little more dirt time would bring us even more incredible views of Mt. St. Helens.

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    Would have loved to have seen her before she blew her top, alas I was not yet born.

    The road was excellent here, well groomed gravel and we really made some good time, all the while watching Mt. St. Helens through gaps in the trees.

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    Then Mt. Adams to the Northeast

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    Climbing higher and higher the temperature started to drop and signs of winter were still present.

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    Some of which got the best of me

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    It was getting closer to sunset so we started looking for a place to camp.

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    We found a small forest campground set on a lake at the base of Mt. Adams. We had a bit of trouble at the access road but eventually found a clear path to a nice spot.

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    And boy, was it a damn nice spot

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    I've done a lot of camping, and I dare say this is the best view I've ever had from my tent.

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    I mean, really. Can it get much better than this?

    Before it got too dark, Shawn and I went for a little hike around the lake. It felt good to stretch the legs after so many long days in the saddle.

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    The snow was still several feet deep in places, and it was getting chilly now.

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    We got back and I donned my deet covered flannel as the bugs came out with a vengeance. Before long Bernie was hiding in the tent while we enjoyed the rest of the sunset and ate trail food. Nothing fancy tonight - granola bars, dried fruit, and jerky for me.

    As it got darker, smoke from a campfire wafted through the trees and a large figure approached from another site. A tall, roughly aged man approached and began speaking in a gruff voice. He smoked a pipe and was dressed in a worn green wool button down and work pants, a prosthetic claw protruded from where his right hand should have been.

    He introduced himself and through the course of a mostly one sided conversation he reflected upon us fishing memories from his 50 years fishing in the same boat - one his father bought when he was 12. He told about being in that same boat fishing when Mt. St. Helens erupted in 1980, and how his outboard quit from the ash, just as they reached shore in complete darkness. Covering his mouth with a kerchief, the only way to drive was to wrap multiple layers of paper towel around the air filter, drive until the car choked, remove a wrap and keep on going - with about 20' of visibility.

    We finally steered the conversation to the road ahead, to which he replied "you ain't gettin out on that road, not tomorrow. Ice out on this lake was only about 2 weeks ago. 'Bout 2' of snow on that pass still." Our conversation went on, but I'll spare the details and move on as I've been a bit long-winded here.

    #82
  3. RogerDe

    RogerDe Dust In The Wind

    Joined:
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    Awesome ride report ,great adventure riding ,fantastic pic's...Ride On....
    #83
  4. epicxcrider

    epicxcrider Been here awhile

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    DAY NINE: From the Mountains to the Desert

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    Took this from inside the tent!

    The night was chilly but I woke up to an amazing view of Mt. Adams. I guess it could get better than the previous night. It was early but the wind had just started to pick up so I got moving too.

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    One more, because it's just so amazing

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    We packed up, saddled up, and said goodbye to the most amazing tent site. On the recommendation of our gruff friend we had a new route around the snow-covered pass.

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    We checked it out anyway - but we didn't have the time to waste trying to get through there.

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    The road was rough and fun, but the going was slow. I just about ate it at one point - a pothole sending the front end then the rear up into the air towards the edge of the road, luckily catching it before going off down the embankment.

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    Northbound and Down - out of the mountains

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    It was still a hike -about 40 miles- to get to pavement and Shawn had been on reserve since last night, so we were hoping for a Hanukkah miracle. Luckily the ride was mostly downhill and we reached the tarmac without issue.

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    In the shadow of Mt. Adams we found gas in Packwood and made tracks for Paradise.

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    Up we go

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    #84
  5. epicxcrider

    epicxcrider Been here awhile

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    The road to Paradise winds up from the valley at 2200' to about 5400' at the base of Mt. Ranier. Along the way the views are spectacular. You'll see.

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    Not yet

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    Getting better

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    There we go

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    The road was fun, but full of traffic - Ha!

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    We still managed to rip right along

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    Vroom, curve, vroom, curve

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    Three amigos

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    A shot from Bernie

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    Getting chilly now

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    So beautiful

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    A shot of Bernie

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    Gettin our curve on

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    After quite an enjoyable ride, we reached the top.

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    #85
  6. epicxcrider

    epicxcrider Been here awhile

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    We jumped off and went for a hike. Tons of snow this year left the place quite snowed in, but still beautiful despite the glacial meadows being covered by snow.

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    It's a popular spot with climbers, skiiers, and hikers.

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    Then I decided to see how the backplate from my jacket worked as a sled.

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    Pretty well!

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    Shawn's turn!

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    Then back down

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    #86
  7. epicxcrider

    epicxcrider Been here awhile

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    The descent was just as enjoyable, experiencing a new angle on the scenery than on the ascent.

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    The air was chilly up top, but not so bad as to turn the heated grips on.

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    There was a lot of ice on this lake for July!

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    A comparison picture, from the last time I was there, about the same time of year

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    I was a little bummed we didn't have time to head to the West side of the park, but the WABDR had shown us a great time so far and we planned to stick with it. We dropped down out of the park and headed East on Rt. 12 for a stretch.

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    Where we were rewarded with even more beautiful scenery.

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    Rapidly leaving the snow-capped peaks behind us, the temperature rose and the landscape changed drastically from lush forest to ponderosa pine and an arid climate. We had only climbed 1000 feet and traveled 25 miles, but the mountains now separated us from the rainy climate of Western Washington.

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    At the very East end of Rimrock Lake, we picked up the trail again and began a gravel switchback climb that would bring us 3000 feet higher onto a ridge.

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    The climb was steep and the road was one giant washboard. At times I just had to keep in the gas, ride the shoulder, and hope for the best. Shawn had a really difficult time just making forward headway here, having to crawl up in first gear. I think he later found the rear suspension setup to be a bit off.

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    The significant climb provided us with excellent views along it's entire length, cutting back and forth up the ridge.

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    An awesome rock from a lava flow

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    Almost to the top, the views were incredible. We stopped for a minute, just to take it all in. Visible was Mt. Adams, our campsite from the previous night, and Mt. Ranier - where we went sledding but a few hours ago. Now we were in the sagebrush and 90 degree heat.

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    Loving every minute of this

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    We sped East along the ridge as the forest road leveled out, stopping occasionally to reflect on the the beauty of it all. It was incredible, and for the next hour I would just be awestruck at the scale of it all.

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    Not a lot was said for a few miles

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    We rode East.

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    #87
  8. epicxcrider

    epicxcrider Been here awhile

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    The road was pretty rough here and we just putted along for a while a not far from the edge of the cliff at times.

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    Jagged rocks and street pressure kept made the ride rough, but at the speed we were traveling none of us wanted to risk a flat or bent rim from airing down. That was fine though, we weren't too concerned with comfort.

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    Yup

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    Please explain how it gets any better than this.

    The ridge stretched on ahead

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    and I dropped back for a bit

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    to eat my share of dust

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    and grab a few photos.

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    Can you spot Bernie?

    The trail jumped into a wood and began to descend, the ground starting to get a bit wet.

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    Keeping to the high side was a challenge with the big bikes, and we just rode out the ruts if the bike started to go down in.

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    Approaching a trickier spot, we met some Jeepers headed the other way. They passed through with a bit of wheelspin, and it was our turn.

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    The mud looked worse than it was, but Mr. Wide Bags had to be ever conscious of the back end.

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    A little throttle gets that rear tire diggin' nicely.

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    A little detour around a downed tree and we popped back out onto the ridge.

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    We looked around, checked the maps, and began the long descent to the town of Nile.

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    I'm going down, down, down, down

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    To Nile

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    Heh, looks like you fell in some mud there guy

    #88
  9. epicxcrider

    epicxcrider Been here awhile

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    We passed through Nile, then it was time to climb again - on a much smoother road this time.

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    Starting to lose sight of the tallest of the Cascades.

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    It was dry and hot as I led us along a more rolling ridge.

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    still rocky but not as bad and our pace was quicker now

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    Very beautiful still, looking East to the plains.

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    Here, the trail was steep and loose - a nice 2nd gear standing climb. Bernie and Shawn watched as I ascended the prominent hill.

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    Then they started up.

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    The trusty ride

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    We began to cross over a series of ridges, zig-zagging our way Northeast.

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    Ponderosa became scarce, replaced by sage - the scent becoming powerful.

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    The trail became a rutted two track, someone had torn it up pretty bad during mud season. Dry now, it was still a challenge to stay out of the ruts. We had a few technical miles ahead of us. Eventually ruts gave way to a few serious climbs - steep, loose, and rocky with a few roots poking out in the worst spots.

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    I biffed pretty good just before cresting the last hill, a tree root sending my back tire out and turning the bike 90 degrees in the trail. Once the rear tire hooked back up I shot right into the sage brush. I got er back up and finished the climb in time for Shawn to come putting up behind me. He dismounted and went back to spot Bernie.

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    Who did just fine.

    It was at this point, looking out from the prominent viewpoint, I began to notice quite a bit of smoke blowing South from a point ahead of us.

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    I hoped for the best as we pressed on.

    #89
  10. epicxcrider

    epicxcrider Been here awhile

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    The rutty sections and rocky climbs had taken a quite a bit of energy as well as taking their toll on the bikes. My rear tire was starting to show some serious wear, and Shawn's was starting to go bald in the middle. We rode along the ridge keeping a close eye on the source of the smoke, past a cell tower and up to an intersection. Straight continued down the ridge for a number of miles before intersecting a road. Right went South towards Selah. Left descended to the North in the direction of the smoke. Shawn was running low on fuel, we had to take our chances and try to get to Ellensburg.

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    Approaching a small valley things didn't look good. A bush fireman in full gear stood on the side of the trail chatting on his radio, watching the helicopter dousing flames with water from it's bucket. I asked "Hey, can we get through here?" After looking us over he turned and looked down the road, the ground on each side smoldering black and replied without expression "Yeh, give it a shot. I'll let them know you're coming."

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    None too confident we pressed on, hopeful the fire had passed through here by now. Bernie led the way down the rocky descent, we all noted the sudden blast of heat radiating from the ground. After a few minutes of riding through smoldering ground, small fires still burning here and there, we made it far enough North to stop and snap a few photos.

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    We rode through the small stream, popped the locked gate and rode by the firefighter's staging area and up the other side of the valley. Almost to town, we passed an abandoned Winnebago parked diagonally in the middle of the road - Breaking Bad style. A forest ranger and police 4x4 with their lights on were investigating and waved us around. A short stint on dirt and we dropped down into the flatlands on tarmac.

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    It was getting damn hot by the time we arrived in Ellensburg to get gas. We fueled up and decided to just chill for a bit and recover from the exhausting heat of the afternoon. It was around 5:00 and we had done 1.5 legs of the WABDR and we all felt it. I paid for the best ice coffee ever from Starbucks in pocket change, tipped the rest of it and walked back to help (watch) Shawn try to fix his saddle bags.
    The strap system had broken and effectively clamped the side fairing to the muffler, melting it into a yellowish curled mess of heat shield and white plastic. Another helper came by exclaiming "oh I've got the same bike, this is how you should fix that!" and I was pretty sure Shawn was going to rip his head off.

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    I declined the use of Shawn's WD-40 for chain lube and bought a bottle of ATF and a toothbrush. The chain was getting pretty dry and we had been hard on them all day. I packaged up what I could in a smaller waterbottle and figured I'd use it until we could find proper chain lube.

    Finally ready to get rolling, the day had worn on pretty long and we really needed to make it to Chelan tonight. I made the tough call to skip sections 3 and 4 with the hopes of being able to complete 5 and 6 tomorrow. Sunset was near and we sped off for Rt 97.

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    #90
  11. epicxcrider

    epicxcrider Been here awhile

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    It was late when we left Ellensburg and we had a bit over 100 miles to Chelan, hopefully arriving before dark. Being so far North in mid July, the days were long giving us a good amount of daylight. The scenery varied greatly as we rode North from the sagebrush and into the Wenatchee National Forest. The arid cool was a welcome break from the constant sun and heat that had beat down on us all day. I had been sweating profusely and consuming a ton of water. Luckily we seemed to drink water at about the same rate the bikes sipped fuel, by the time I ran out we had to refuel.

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    I find this area of Washington shows a great contrast of environments where the rivers provide irrigation for the immediate area, adding color to the otherwise drab high plains desert.

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    The ride stretched on, 100 miles is a lot of highway after a full day of trail. The relief from the heat kept us going as we dropped down into Wenatchee, though we were all pretty bummed to be missing out some great trail.

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    A nice sunset, the Wenatchee National Forest in the distance.

    We arrived in Wenatchee and it was still friggin' hot. The temperature rose significantly after descending a few thousand feet to the Colombia river valley.

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    We grabbed some food and adult beverages, then headed North on 97 looking like we may be headed for another wildfire.

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    We were, but luckily for us this one was contained to a hillside. It didn't look like they were doing much to fight the fire except for keeping it away from the homes at the base of the hill.

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    After an excellent section of twisties we popped out at the shore of lake Chelan right at the state park campground.

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    We turned in to the campground and went to find the "host" as the place was jam-packed full.
    The host gave us illogical directions to find a place to pitch a tent, and after riding around for a while looking we just gave up and found an open space somewhere. The campground was overfull and insanely busy. People racing around in cars, revving bikes, trying to have family cookouts next to kids playing drinking games. Setting up, we wondered if we'd even get any sleep.
    It wasn't my ideal place to camp but we had stretched our days so long that trying to find a trail-side spot would have left us riding to camp in the dark, exhausted. We got showered, set up, and went for a little walk sipping from a bottle Bernie picked up earlier. Surprisingly, the place quieted right down at dusk - the park rangers were out in force to ensure that. Someone had complained about our setting up where we did, but the ranger - satisfied that we weren't causing trouble - let us be. We hit the sack before too long though still closer to midnight than I'd like. Tomorrow would be another long day.​
    #91
  12. epicxcrider

    epicxcrider Been here awhile

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    Day 10: Oh, Canader!


    After some much needed rest, a late morning saw us riding towards the town of Chelan a little before 9:00. The road to Chelan was a pretty ride along the shore by the lake of the same name. The sun was already pretty high and beating down on us as a constant reminder of how hot it was going to be.

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    Only a few clouds in a bluebird sky on the way to Chelan.

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    Once in Chelan, I found a gas station and we stopped to pick up fuel and trail food for the day. Another breakfast of redbull and granola bars :)
    Outside we met one of the local characters in his converted Jesus-van. He spent the better part of half an hour trying to convert us three while we ate, eventually letting us know "Jesus looks out for motorcycles" and driving away in a van that couldn't start fast enough.

    Circling around the end of the lake we turned off rt 150 onto a small windy road that would climb North to Echo Valley Ski Area. Past Echo Valley the road turned to dirt and started to climb up into the mountains, the dust returning with a vengeance.

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    I really enjoyed the climb - minimal washboard and loose rocks kept my speed up and trees were few and far between providing amazing views around every corner. I sped ahead while Bernie and Shawn staggered to keep the dust down.

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    The dust was so bad that Bernie stayed quite a ways back, allowing me to grab a few choice photos.

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    The views were incredible, ever improving as we wound our way around the hills to the North.

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    Zoomed in, Bernie in the distance now at least half a mile back.

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    I love this photo

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    After climbing for some time the landscape began to change as we gained significant elevation in the mountains. Starting the day at around 1000', within an hour or two we were well over 5000' and climbing.

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    Even bits of forest here and there.

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    #92
  13. slide

    slide A nation in despair

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    How're you guys finding these interesting roads?

    BTW, I like that photo a good deal too. OTOH, they all are great.
    #93
  14. epicxcrider

    epicxcrider Been here awhile

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    Most of it is the WABDR http://www.wabdr.com/

    Really, this is an excellent route. I took to calling it the Adventure Super-Highway because a lot of it is FAST. Not the most technical, but sure as hell was fun!
    #94
  15. epicxcrider

    epicxcrider Been here awhile

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    A wildfire had burned here not more than a few years ago, grey and blackened skeletons of pine trees were all that remained. A young forest, still only grass yet, grew up from below.

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    Speeding through the burned forest, the cause of the fire was evident at every viewpoint. Beetlekill. The bark beetles attack the trees, killing a host tree in a matter of weeks. They can take out an entire stand of healthy pines, leaving a standing dead forest waiting for a wildfire.

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    Still finding snow - the heat had gone down to a more manageable level high up in the mountains.

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    We started playing leap-frog, every few miles snapping photos and letting someone else take the lead.

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    Bernie getting a little off course

    We rode on with plenty of beautiful views to enjoy.

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    Looking out over the Oknaogan National Forest towards Colville Reservation

    The road was narrow and winding, descending down before a bit of tarmac.

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    Then, a much needed break for Shawn while we got attacked by horseflies

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    A little bit of road, with a welcome stop for gas and supplies,

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    and then back to the trail.

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    #95
  16. slide

    slide A nation in despair

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    What a great resource if ever I'm near there. Thanks.
    #96
  17. epicxcrider

    epicxcrider Been here awhile

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    The trail constantly varied from hardpack dirt to gravel or sand - though it was always dry. The dust was so bad we spaced far apart, Shawn sometimes at least a mile back. I led here and because of the many turns we doubled back a few times. Sometimes I couldn't see on the map well enough, others I was just having too much fun and missed a turn. Did I mention it was dry?

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    We made a good pace and covered quite a few miles quickly. Ascending was a lot more fun than descending - each of us had a few close call moments coming into a corner too hot downhill. We had been pushing hard, an doing it for days on end now.

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    Now in open range country I was constantly on the lookout for livestock roaming around. Mostly they got out of the road for us but if you come across an ornery bull ya just never know.

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    An ocean of pine, and just a little dust.

    A nice, fast descent brought us down to into the pine forest below. I zipped along as the road transitioned from hardpack to light sand, keeping on the throttle to keep things...LOG! I pulled the clutch, stomped the rear brake and concentrated on keeping the front from locking up as I came skidding to a stop just a foot from a downed tree entirely blocking the road.
    I figured being sideways in the dust would be enough warning for Bernie as I got the bike turned around to negotiate a little off-trail excursion around the tree. He skidded to a stop in much the same fashion and we waited a piece for Shawn who was nowhere to be seen, so we decided to carry on down the trail.

    Shawn caught up at an intersection, then a short bit of road saw us riding an excellent stretch of trail up Loup Loup Canyon.

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    Despite the heat the canyon was a nice break from the dust and the road had significantly more grip. A large number of livestock further up the canyon kept the pace under control. I also saw something we hadn't seen in miles... potholes!

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    Emerging from the canyon onto a ridge for a bit, the trail quickly began to descend towards Conconully.

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    Nothing technical, but it was fun and being so narrow added to the excitement.

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    A few switchbacks

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    Shawn's turn

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    Then I gave chase

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    A little pavement brought us to the small town of Conconully where it's perfectly legal to drive your quad or side-by-side down the road. They roared all over town while we stopped in for gas and some much needed ice cream. We sat outside for a bit watching the local color. The town was kind of a free-for-all with people riding around in the back of pickup trucks drinking beer, and kids on quads everywhere.

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    And a even more important swim in the lake just outside of town.

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    Refreshed, refueled, and rejuvenated, we climbed back up into the mountains.

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    #97
  18. oldtrucks

    oldtrucks Been here awhile

    Joined:
    May 18, 2007
    Oddometer:
    296
    Location:
    NorCal

    Welcome to the Wild West, you guys are catching the best of the best on this trip
    #98
  19. curveball21

    curveball21 Easy Rider

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2011
    Oddometer:
    10
    Location:
    Cleveland, Ohio
    :beer Nice RR so far. keep it coming!
    #99
  20. epicxcrider

    epicxcrider Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2011
    Oddometer:
    656
    Location:
    Seattle, WA
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    The road turned to dirt just past town and we rode north, quickly gaining elevation. We had climbed from around 2000' up to 6000' and would stay around there for quite a few miles. Rounding a corner I caught a glimpse of rocky peaks, still capped with snow from the long winter. Skiers in Washington must have fared much better than the miserable conditions in the rest of the US this year.

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    We zipped along at a quick pace and enjoyed the cooler air at altitude. Riding through the burned forest was a little eerie, but allowed great photos and better views.

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    Crossing a cattle guard we ran into the only other vehicle we saw on the trail all day, a forest service truck taking things a bit slower than we.

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    We had a great time alternating the lead - after a few miles the leader would stop, snap photos, then drop back like in a pace line.

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    Me

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    Shawn - good lean for a dirt road :)

    This wildfire must have been significant considering the area that was burned. For miles and miles we rode through the skeletons of a young forest.

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    Interestingly, some trees had burned significantly more than others leaving nothing left but a long slender trunk. Other trees merely had needles and small branches burned off.

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    The scale of the burn was spectacular, I found the areas which were spared to be particularly interesting. What factors contributed to a stand of live trees surrounded by burned ones? Wind, tree health, fire fighting?

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    Bernie took the lead with Shawn not far behind in the switchbacks.

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    The landscape has become less jagged, the mountains here more rolling.

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